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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Quilt List, and introducation

The other night Jenny was over and we got in this discussion about me writing a book. (Tim suggested to me that I write a book called "The Quilt List" that is based on the people who I have made quilts for over the past few years.) This idea seems overwhelming. I'm not that good of a writer.

Although I don't know about a book, but I might start sharing some of the stories on here. I can share about the quilts--but more about the people who have received them so far. Therefore, here is my first post. It is more of an introduction to the topic. More "chapters" and quilts will come.

The Love of Quilting: An Introducation

As long as I can remember, my Granny Kimbrough was known for two things—good home cooking and making quilts. Chicken and dumplings and vinegar green beans, chocolate pies and coconut creams were always requested at family dinners and just about any time in between. And every person in the family had at least one or two “Granny quilts.” As the youngest of 15 grand-children (with just 20 days separating me with the great-grand children), I probably got more than my share of spoiling-and quilts. All of us, though, no matter where we fall in the generational line, cherish our Granny quilts.

As a child, I would spend many afternoons with my Granny and Grandpa playing on the old shag carpet as she watched her beloved “soaps” on the large turn-knob TV. It’s funny what you remember about a place. Above the TV was an old painting (a reproduction) of a man praying before a meal. It's a very common painting, and as a child it filled me with a melancholy ache that I couldn't quite place. Over the years, I’ve seen it many times in antique stores, and it always brings back memories of grandparent’s cozy little home.

Then there is the smell of Oil of Olay. Even now, it brings back memories of that tiny bathroom in their house where I would dab the stuff on my face like Granny would always do. I would make frequent bathroom trips to dab that lotion on before I went home for the night. The smell was her--and I wanted to take it with me.

The "middle bedroom," which was usually filled with a full-sized bed covered with a white knobby blanket, was always a favorite room in my Grandparent’s house. Several times a year the bed was removed and stored so that Granny could quilt. The loom would take up the whole room. For hours at a time, she would sit and quilt. Many times I would play at her feet just inches away from her masterpieces-in-the-making. Sadly, I never thought to ask her about them.

It would be another twenty some odd years before the “hobby” (I use quotes because it is more of an obsession) would interest me. I wish now that Granny could teach me how to do those perfect stitches, which got looser as her eye-sight faded in the latter years. I wish I could sit with her as she quilted and ask her questions about her life--hear her stories. I would ask about the Dust Bowl and the first time she drank a soda. She could tell me about falling in love with Grandpa and living in California. We could sit and quilt and make masterpieces together.

But I can't.

She went to be with Jesus my sophomore year of high school. I missed my opportunity to learn hands-on skills. She did teach me, though, that time and love could be passed on in many forms. Love can be eaten in a perfect meal made just for you. Love can be smelled in a little bottle of lotion that you hope will keep you beautiful for your one true love. And love can be stitched into fabric and wrapped around you.

I miss my Granny. I miss my daddy too, who is now with her in Heaven. I think I will go pull out the quilt she made for him and wrap up in it. I will wrap myself in their love.....and dream.